Theatre review: George’s Marvellous Medicine
On at the Playhouse until Saturday 21st April, is Roald Dahl’s childhood classic ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’, as adapted by David Wood. The production follows the book very closely, meaning that those who are familiar to the story (both old and young) are able to join in with the show and understand how the plot develops.
The story goes as follows:
George lives in a farmhouse with his Mum, Dad and “grousing, grouching, grumbling, griping” Grandma, and is fed up with looking after the house and in particular, one very annoying family member. George’s vivid imagination allows him to ‘triumph over his selfish and over-bearing Grandmother’ with a concoction of unusual medicinal treatments: George’s Marvellous Medicine…
As an adaptation of a young person’s book, the play itself is family orientated but still incredibly enjoyable for older generations! The play features songs, chants and collective audience participation, resembling that of a pantomime, whilst harbouring the true essence of a classic Roald Dahl creation. Even the set itself brings to life the Quentin Blake illustrations that have forever been engrained in our memories, adding to the quirky nature of the story. However, the complexity of the set means that the majority of it cleverly remains the same throughout the production, allowing for more attention to be paid to the engaging and convincing acting that is performed on stage.
Preston Nyman plays the role of George, expressing an enthusiastic performance throughout and his energy never once wavering. Nyman was joined by Lisa Howard as George’s Grandma, and George’s Mum and Dad were played by Catherine Morris and Justin Wilman respectively. In addition to the phizz-whizzing acting on stage, were the presence of musical ensemble led my Matthew Coulton with music composed by Tasha Taylor-Johnson. With live music on stage to be clearly seen, the adaptation of this play differs from others that use a pre-recorded soundtrack, and with familiar sounding music that accompanies different moods, it was incredibly interesting to see how a piece is composed to create a specific sound.
The use of coloured lighting and ingenious mechanics brought the whole production together making the show truly magical and reminiscent of the book.
After the wondrous performance ended, Ellie and I were able to get home in time for bed. As for George? Well, for a brief few moments he had touched with the very tips of his fingers the edge of a magic world.